SuperSport United Coach Kaitano Tembo during the SuperSport United virtual press conference on February 22, 2021 in Pretoria. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU
SuperSport United Coach Kaitano Tembo during the SuperSport United virtual press conference on February 22, 2021 in Pretoria. Picture: GALLO IMAGES/LEFTY SHIVAMBU

SuperSport United coach Kaitano Tembo says his side will attack Orlando Pirates from the first whistle in Wednesday’s league clash at Atteridgeville’s Lucas Moripe Stadium.

United, who are four points behind leaders Mamelodi Sundowns at the halfway stage of the campaign, have made a bright start to the Premier Soccer League (PSL) season.

The 50-year-old Zimbabwean mentor admitted United were lucky to get away with a point in their draw against Kaizer Chiefs at the weekend.

While United fielded their strongest team and were run rugged in the 1-1 draw against Chiefs‚ Pirates rested almost all of their regulars on Sunday as they beat Botswana’s Jwaneng Galaxy 1-0 to qualify for the group stages of the Caf Confederation Cup 4-0 on aggregate.

The Buccaneers are expected to have their heavy artillery back for the trip to Atteridgeville and Tembo said United will have to be at their best to defeat Pirates.

“We saw Pirates rested most of their players and so we need to prepare well and pitch up because we are playing at home‚” said Tembo. “We have had two or three days to prepare and it’s not enough rest. You can’t really train much because we needed the players to be fresh.”

Pirates will welcome back the likes of first-choice keeper Richard Ofori and attackers Deon Hotto and Thembinkosi Lorch‚ while United are missing key players Teboho Mokoena‚ Onismor Bhasera and forward Evans Rusike.

The SuperSport coach will pin his hopes on leading Premiership goal scorer Bradley Grobler and his towering strike twin partner Thamsanqa Gabuza.

“We know Pirates are a very good team and have been doing well and pushing to get up the log. They also want to win this game,” Tembo said.

“But it’s always important for us to go out there with the right frame of mind‚ play very well and make sure we attack them from the word go because we are playing at home. We probably [need] to score an early goal to try to unsettle them.

“We need to be a bit smarter‚ especially if we can get an early lead. But it’s going to be a very demanding game where we need to bring our A game in terms of our work ethic. A good work ethic will probably get us through.”

United are second on the PSL log on 32 points from 17 matches and will look to close the gap between them and Sundowns to just one.

“We need to keep a little more pressure on Sundowns and try to close the gap,” Tembo said.

The Buccaneers‚ in fifth and trailing leaders Sundowns by eight points‚ will look for a win that will keep them in the picture in the title chase. A win would move them up to third and within one point of Tembo’s team.

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